My mom, Darla Bushman, shared some blessings she’s seen from being wholehearted as she pondered Sister Michelle Craig’s talk “Wholehearted” in the October 2022 General Conference.
“Wholehearted” by Darla Bushman
Sister Craig’s main premise was that
We should be followers of Jesus who are joyful and wholehearted in our own personal journey of discipleship.
She asserts that hard times are a part of every life and that “trials do not mean God’s plan is failing.” No, “they are part of the plan, meant to help me seek God.”
Sister Craig tells of pioneers trudging across the plains, enduring all kinds of hardships, but who could never be turned away from their convictions that the church is true nor their testimonies of the divine missions of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. They knew it. God had revealed it and no power on earth could turn them from it.
I have a great, great-grandmother, Eliza Chapman Gadd, who crossed the plains in the Willie Handcart company, and she wasn’t even a member of the church. Her husband and older children had joined the church in England and she went to America with them to keep the family together. Along the way her husband died as well as two sons, but I know this didn’t turn her bitter against the church because only a few days after she arrived in the Salt Lake valley she was baptized.
Wholehearted. Loving the Lord and Keeping His Commandments.
When I reflected on the word wholehearted, my first thought was that I am commanded to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength as it says in Mark 12:30. My second thought was “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
I remember what Elder Jeffrey R Holland said in “The Greatest Possession” during the October 2021 General Conference.
This love of God is the first great commandment in the Universe. But the first great truth in the universe is that God loves us exactly that way—wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, with all of his heart might mind and strength. And when those majestic forces from His heart and ours meet without restraint, there is a veritable explosion of spiritual, moral power!
How wonderful to experience that power! And I have.
Amaleki of old testified in the Book of Mormon in Omni 1:26 that
And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
In Sister Craig’s talk, she says,
Living in convenience does not bring power. The power we need to withstand the heat of our day is the Lord’s power, and His power flows through our covenants with him.
Wholehearted. Jesus was the perfect example of loving our Father with all his heart—of doing His will, regardless of the cost. I want to follow His example by doing the same.
I have been grateful throughout my life that I have lived in a land where I had the freedom to be a wholehearted disciple of Christ, AND that I had a companion who felt the same about this kind of discipleship, who wholeheartedly wants to pay tithing and fast offerings first every month, who thinks it important to attend church meetings even when we get home from a trip really late on Saturday night, who is willing to accept and fulfill any and all church callings, and when there are problems, is anxious to get up and do something—to act in faith. As in Luke 17:14, some lepers sought healing, and Christ said, “Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were cleansed.”
Prompted to Act and Released from a Promise
Over the years, practices such as these have brought us and our eight children through many trials and hard times, as well as times of great joy and happiness. Looking back, I can see that “as I went” acting in faith, the Lord blessed me with power to help bring about little miracles.
One that seems quite major to me, but came about over time and through many minor decisions, occurred around the time our youngest child was in the 3rd grade. We were having a hard time financially and I prayed to know if I should look for a job. I had been hesitant because as a young wife, I had promised God that I would be a stay-at-home mother.
I received the strongest positive answer I had ever felt! And I felt that God released me from my promise. I immediately gathered credentials, resumes, references, etc., and started out to apply for a teaching position, even though it was in the month of March. I encountered obstacles because though my teacher’s certificate was still good in Utah, it was unacceptable in Texas where we lived then. I was led to jobs as a substitute teacher and a part-time job at the county library, but I kept being prompted to take other steps and complete certain qualifications in the nick of time just before they changed the requirements for certification.
A year or so later I was working full-time at the county library. One of our daughters was serving a mission and a son was soon to be of mission age. Another daughter wanted to go on a mission then as well. I was thrilled that they wanted to go, even though missions were costing $375/month apiece. The cost never stopped any of the plans for their missions; I knew we’d work it out somehow.
That summer, a couple of months after all three children were on their missions, out of the blue, a friend suggested that I go to a certain Junior High School and apply for a job as their librarian. Because I had followed promptings a year or two earlier, I was fully qualified, and miraculously (because of the short time it took,) I got the job and almost doubled my income! Not only that but also our bishop came to us and said ward members wanted to pay the expenses of one of our missionaries! The Lord worked it out for us!
I testify that our wholehearted paying of tithing and willingness to act in faith blessed us then and many other times throughout our 56 years of marriage.
Wholehearted. Stand with Jesus Christ Forever.
At the end of Sister Craig’s talk, she says
My fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, with all my heart, I choose to stand with the Lord. I choose to stand with his servants, President Russell M. Nelson and his fellow apostles, for they speak for him and are the stewards of the ordinances and covenants that tie me to the Savior…I will wait upon the Lord and trust Him, His timing, His wisdom, His plan. Arm in arm with you, I want to stand with Him forever. Wholehearted. Knowing that when we love Jesus Christ with all our hearts, He gives us all in return.
I wholeheartedly agree with sister Craig. I feel that way too!